A union rep for UAW Local 31 told the Kansas City Star that GM's Fairfax, Kansas plant, where the Saturn Aura and Chevy Malibu are constructed, will add the new Aura Green Line to the mix sometime this week. Five of the hybrid Auras will be produced per week and be used for road testing prior to the car going into full production in early 2007. It doesn't end there, either, as the facility's plant manager also told The Star that once the Aura Green Line is introduced in the spring, attention will turn to the planned Chevy Malibu Hybrid that will also be built at Fairfax.

The Aura Green Line will use a "light hybrid" system like the one used in the Vue Green Line. Light hybrids use smaller batteries than full hybrids and are unable to drive on electric power alone. The gasoline engine will still shut down when coasting, braking and stopping, and generally offer a 10 to 15 percent boost in fuel economy over cars without the system. The other benefit is evident on the wiondow sticker, as the light hybrid system is less costly than a full hybrid.

It's going to be interesting to see how the Aura Green Line does in the marketplace. The Aura, which yours truly just spent a week with, is good-looking, comfortable and very capable. Assuming that the Green Line will continue to do the good things well, while offering enhanced fuel economy (and the hybrid cool/feel-good factor), it should find takers at Saturn stores. We're looking forward to eventually getting our hands on one.

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[Source: Kansas City Star via AutoblogGreen]


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